BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - It can be very difficult to treat severe morning sickness, but a doctor in Buffalo has been testing a drug that seems to work.
Even after hospitalization, severe morning sickness can return and threaten a pregnancy. But maybe it can be cured - by a drug that's been used for 20 years to treat other conditions.
Janeen Lewis was excited about having a baby. Like many women, she developed mild symptoms of morning sickness, but it became much worse.
"I started to lose weight; I had to be hospitalized for a short duration of time to be rehydrated," Lewis said.
That's precisely what happened to Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. It happens in only about one in a hundred pregnancies. But Lewis's condition kept getting worse.
"I felt so desperate and I was so sick and I was to the point where I did not know if I could actually carry throughout the pregnancy," she said.
And that's also typical.
Dr. Thomas Guttuso, Jr. explained, "The women are very, very sick and they're very scared, because they're pregnant, and they're scared about how this is affecting the health of their baby, and they're very frustrated because none of the treatments that have been tried are working."
Dr. Guttuso is a neurologist. He'd been testing Gabapentin, a commonly used drug in neurology, and found it could also relieve nausea and vomiting that women were experiencing with chemotherapy.
"I thought this other patient population - pregnant women who had the severe form of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy - maybe they would also benefit from it," he said.
It worked; Lewis's relief was almost immediate. It's been tried on 11 women and has been very successful.
Dr. Guttuso said, "Sometimes it was just a few hours after their first pill, for some it took a day or two before they really had more substantial benefit."
Lewis had a healthy baby girl who will be a year old next month.
"Absolutely no side effects - for me or my baby. That was awesome," she said.
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